Melting Glaciers Reveal Ancient Artifacts

A well preserved male hunter’s coat from around the year 300 A.D. was found this summer in the Breheimen National Park, making it the oldest piece of clothing in the country.

The coat was found in the rock bed left by a melting glacier.

The warmer weather caused by climate change provides archaeologists, researchers and museums with new opportunities to find artifacts dating back hundreds of years. A new exhibition at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo will feature all finds from the melting glaciers, most of which date back to Roman times.

"This find is sensational, not only in Norway, but internationally," says Marianne Vedeler, Manager and Textile Expert at the Museum of Cultural History. The number of garments this old in all of Northern Europe can be counted on one hand, she explains to Aftenposten.

In total, seventeen textiles and garments have been received at the museum, including a leather shoe and several other pieces of clothing. However, the men’s coat is the first one that has been dated and preserved.

"The technique used is very advanced and makes the pattern look like small diamonds," Vedeler says. "It is well-used, and has a few tears that have been patched together." They will do further chemical analysis to determine its colour, and expect the finds to reveal more important information about clothing in Roman Norway.

Other finds in the same area, an old camp and hunting ground, included containers that may have been used as bags/purses, a wooden spade, horseshoes arrows and arrowheads.


Julie Ryland


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